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Psychological Factors That Affect Language Development in Children

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
Psychological Factors That Affect Language Development in Children
Child looking down at book laying on her bed.

As your child grows and develops, language skills begin to emerge. Some children learn to speak and understand language quickly, while other children lag behind. Some situations in your child's life could be affecting his ability to speak and understand language. External influences, from the standard of care you give to your child to your socioeconomic standing, can contribute to psychological factors that can affect language development in your child.

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Standard of Care

When a child is neglected, it can negatively affect her ability to speak and understand language, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration of Children and Families. Children who are neglected at home or placed in foster care because of neglect typically score lower on language cognition testing later in life. When you ignore your child or avoid giving her the care and attention she needs, she doesn't get to hear you speak and doesn't get the chance to understand things like tone and meaning. This can give way to social problems in the future.

Economic Standing

A study performed by researchers at UC Berkley, UCLA, the University of British Columbia and Stanford and published in a 2009 issue of the "Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience" tested children from various social backgrounds in intelligence and academic achievement. The study found that children with a lower socioeconomic status performed worse than a child of a higher socioeconomic status. Your family's household income, living arrangements and socioeconomic standing can cause stress in the home, hypothesizes the study. Stress may inhibit your child's development when it comes to language and academic achievement.

Psychological Disorders

Any number of psychological and behavioral problems can limit your child's ability to speak and understand language. A child with a developmental or behavioral disorder like antisocial personality disorder or autism may have limiting capabilities when it comes to interacting with others and understanding facial expressions, notes Vicky R. Bowden and Cindy S Greenberg in their book "Children and Their Families: The Continuum of Care." If your child has been diagnosed with a psychological disorder, you'll need to discuss with your doctor the implications that the disorder has for your child's ability to learn and understand language efficiently.

Social Fear

Social experience is paramount in a child's ability to learn and understand language. When your child doesn't receive the opportunity to interact with other children and adults, his ability to understand language can suffer. A child who suffers from anxiety disorders or is especially shy may have trouble when it comes to language development, simply because he doesn't have the practice. Fostering social opportunities in his life can help him overcome his social fear and engage in language learning opportunities on a daily basis.

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